Two South Carolina residents and two Georgia residents accused of stealing thousands from government housing programs were charged with federal crimes this week, according to United States Attorney for South Carolina Peter M. McCoy Jr.
The four individuals are accused of taking money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), which helps unemployed/ underemployed homeowners stay in their homes during troubled times.
According to the indictments (below), the four defendants charged took the money from the government housing agency but didn’t actually live in the homes they were getting assistance for.
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According to a news release from McCoy’s Office, the following individuals were indicted on federal charges:
- Marvette Thompson Easterling, 53, of Gaffney, SC, was indicted for bank fraud, theft of government funds in excess of $1,000, and false statement on a loan application.
- Joshua David Armato, 36, of Blarisville, Georgia, was indicted for bank fraud and theft of government funds in excess of $1,000.
- Laura Beth Armato, 35, also of Blarisville, Georgia, was indicted for bank fraud and theft of government funds in excess of $1,000. The property at issue is in Simpsonville, SC.
- Keylon Wright, 39, of Greenville, SCwas indicted for bank fraud, theft of government funds in excess of $1,000, and false statement on a loan application.
“According to the allegations, all defendants received thousands in SC HELP homeowner relief funds, including mortgage payment assistance,” the news release says. “Easterling and Wright allegedly also received direct loan payment assistance funds.”
SC HELP is a federally funded program created in a national effort to stabilize the housing market and to provide temporary assistance to homeowners in need.
Each of the individuals charged faces a maximum fine of $1 million and a sentence of 30 years for bank fraud.
Assistant United States Attorney Winston Marosek of the Greenville office will prosecute these cases.
Here is one of the indictments in the case…Easterling-Indictment
“When individuals wrongfully take from programs designed to provide assistance to others, they are stealing from those who need help the most,” McCoy said in a news release. “Our office will not allow this type of conduct to go unpunished, especially in light of the pressing economic circumstances facing so many across South Carolina.”
To report a crime related to TARP, call 1-877-744-2009.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Mandy Matney is the news director at FITSNews. She’s an award-winning journalist from Kansas who has worked for newspapers in Missouri, Illinois, and South Carolina before making the switch to FITS. She currently lives on Hilton Head Island where she enjoys beach life. Want to contact Mandy? Send your story ideas, comments, suggestions and tips to [email protected].
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